Paynes Creek Historic State Park
Infobox_protected_area | name = Paynes Creek Historic State Park
iucn_category = V
locator_x = 232
locator_y = 161
Hardee County, Florida, USA
Bowling Green, Florida
lat_degrees = 27
lat_minutes = 37
lat_seconds = 33
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 81
long_minutes = 48
long_seconds = 14
long_direction = W
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Paynes Creek Historic State Park is a Florida State Park located on Lake Branch Road one-half mile southeast of
Bowling Green, Florida. On November 21, 1978, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, under the title of Payne's Creek Massacre-Fort Chokonikla Site (also known as site of Chokonikla blockhouse and bridge or Military cemetery).
After the Second Seminole War
When the Second Seminole War ended in
1842, the federal "Armed Occupation Act" was passed. It let Seminole War veterans apply for a 160 acre homestead in Florida.
At the same time, a reservation was created for the
Seminoles in southwest Florida. Their ability to trade was limited by the government, so as to prevent them from obtaining weapons to cause further conflict. To compensate, white-run trading stores were permitted on the reservation's outskirts to the north and west, letting the Indians obtain supplies and luxuries unavailable within the reservation.
Many of the trading posts were built by Kennedy and Darling, two army
sutlers from Fort Brookewho had started their own trading company. One such was constructed in the late 1840salong the Charlo-popka-hatchee-chee ("Little Trout-Eating Creek" in Seminole), west of Peas Creek (later known as the Peace River, near present-day Bowling Green. The proprietors were Capt. George Payne and Dempsey Whidden.
Ignoring the terms of the treaty with the Seminoles, settlers moved southward, encroaching on the reservation. Though
Billy Bowlegs, one of their leaders, was reconciled to the state of affairs, others of his people were not so compliant.
July 17, 1849, Payne and Whidden were killed by five renegade Seminoles, following which the store and everything in it was burned.
This caused many of the settlers to flee to the nearest fort, then ask for military forces to be sent so they could return to their homes in safety. This led to the establishment of Fort Chokonikla near the site of the former trading post only three months later, on October 26. The fort's name is believed to derive from the Seminole "Chocka-nickler", for "burnt store". It was also variously spelled at the time as Chokkonickla or Chokhonikla.
Following the fort's completion, the nearby creek became known as Paynes Creek, which it is still called to this day.
However, due to its location near a swamp, many of those stationed at the fort contracted and died of
malaria. This became such a problem that the fort's doctor recommended the fort's closure. The army quickly agreed, and the fort was vacated on July 18, 1850, after less than nine months of occupancy, and a year and a day after Payne and Whidden's deaths.
canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and bird and butterfly watching. Amenities include a number of historic sites, three picnicpavilions, and a museum at the visitor's center that recreates pioneer life.
References and external links
* [http://www.floridastateparks.org/paynescreek/default.cfm Paynes Creek Historic State Park] at [http://www.floridastateparks.org Florida State Parks]
* [http://www.abfla.com/parks/PaynesCreek/paynescreek.html Paynes Creek State Historic Site] at [http://www.abfla.com Absolutely Florida]
* [http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/FL/Hardee/state.html Hardee County listings] at [http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com National Register of Historic Places]
* [http://www.flheritage.com/facts/reports/places/Counties/Hardee.cfm Hardee County listings] at [http://www.flheritage.com Florida's Office of Cultural and Historical Programs]
* [http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/fl/fortchokonikla.html Fort Chokonikla] at [http://www.ghosttowns.com Ghost Towns and History of the American West]
* [http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~crackerbarrel/Chokonikla.html Fort Chokonikla] at [http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~crackerbarrel Cracker Barrel - Genealogy & History By Spessard Stone]
* [http://www.allenaltvater.org Allen C. Altvater webpage]
** [http://www.allenaltvater.org/SE_C1.htm The Massacre at Payne’s Creek]
** [http://www.allenaltvater.org/SE_C2.htm Chokonikla]
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